As casual conversations at Guilford snake their way around to political discussions, the upcoming presidential primary election is at the forefront of most Guilfordians’ minds. Whispers of Trump, Cruz, Bernie, and Hillary hang in the air.
The presidential primary elections are important as they decide who in each party will secure the nomination for President.
Stark contrasts exist between the two major parties. The Democratic ticket has only two candidates who are able to debate the issues facing this country. On the other side of the aisle, the Republican Party has many candidates all fighting for airtime.
The Iowa caucus and elections in swing states are the most important and notable in the season of primary elections as they set the stage for the rest of the country and even have the power to make or break a campaign.
After the Iowa caucus on Feb. 1, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley suspended his campaign. O’Malley secured just 0.6 percent of the vote and zero delegates.
Similarly, after the fallout of the Iowa caucus results, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania both pulled out of the GOP political race.
After dropping out of the race, former presidential hopefuls stay connected politically through the support of other candidates still fighting for the nomination. Paul is now endorsing Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
Guilfordians tend to care about the issues facing America in a way that other college students do not. The right to education, the economy, health care, immigration rights and wages are a few to note.
“I hate every single Republican running,” said senior and President of the Guilford College Republicans Harrison Houlihan.
“They are all dominated by the evangelical right. I’m starting to think (my ideal Republican) doesn’t exist. I don’t know if I would call myself a Republican right now.”
The Republican hopefuls, including frontrunners Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Donald Trump, are more numerous and each candidate has different strategies for securing their party’s nomination.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton focus on strategies that serve to separate them in the eyes of Democrats nationwide as a result of the Iowa caucus.
In addition to the two major parties, the Green and Libertarian Parties are fighting for a spot in the political fight.
“I think it’s important to feel like a candidate is genuine,” Houlihan said. “At the end of the day, great Americans are all just people. They are just men or women like me. I want to feel that about the president.”
The president of the United States represents the country in a way that no other American does.
“What matters when thinking about who becomes the next president is who they appoint to their cabinet,” said senior and member of Democracy Matters Kiernan Colby. “Because of the intransigent nature of Congress and the presidency, those offices are always going to be (arguing) unless they are from the same party.”
“I think this election more than ever before, the day after the results come in, there will be more hurt feelings than ever before,” Houlihan said. “I hope that we are a nation of Bernie Sanders. It’s not a nation of agreeing with his policies, but it’s a nation that will be the farthest from our status quo. I think that Bernie Sanders being elected is less a glowing confirmation of Bernie Sanders and more of a damn ing of our current political system and landscape.”
This election is polarizing in ways that, historically, others have never been. The choices that the American people have are more vast and telling about the current state of the union.
Each candidate represents something very different, and it is the responsibility of the people to vote on a candidate that they feel accurately represents the hopes and dreams of what it means to be an American.